Eye exams are important to maintaining good eye health and should be conducted regularly. During an eye exam, a series of tests are performed to evaluate visual acuity, eye alignment, eye pressure, and overall eye health. This article discusses the different tests conducted during an eye exam, their purpose, and what patients can expect during their appointment.

When to Have Eye Exams?

An eye exam is a comprehensive evaluation of the eyes and visual system. It is recommended that individuals receive a routine eye exam every one to two years, depending on age and other risk factors. Eye exams are essential to maintain good eye health and can detect early signs of eye diseases and conditions that may lead to vision loss if left untreated. During an eye exam, a series of tests are performed to evaluate visual acuity, eye alignment, eye pressure, and overall eye health. Here are some of the common tests that may be performed during an eye exam:

Visual Acuity Test

The visual acuity test is the most well-known test performed during an eye exam. It measures how well a patient can see at a distance and up close. The patient is asked to read letters or symbols on a chart from a specific distance. The Snellen chart is the most commonly used in optometry offices. The visual acuity test results are expressed as a fraction, with 20/20 considered perfect vision.

Refraction Test

The refraction test determines a patient’s eyeglass or contact lens prescription. The patient is asked to look through a phoropter containing different lenses, and the optometrist will ask the patient which lens provides the clearest vision. This test determines the eye’s refractive error, which measures how well the eye bends light. The results of the refraction test are used to determine a prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

Eye Alignment Test

The eye alignment test, also known as the cover test, is performed to determine if a patient has strabismus, a misalignment of the eyes. The optometrist will ask the patient to focus on an object while covering one eye at a time. The optometrist will then observe how the uncovered eye moves and whether it maintains focus on the object. This test can also detect amblyopia, a condition where one eye has weaker vision than the other.

Eye Pressure Test

The eye pressure test, also known as tonometry, measures the pressure inside the eye. Elevated eye pressure can be a sign of glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss. There are two types of tonometry tests: air-puff and applanation tests. During the air-puff test, a small puff of air is directed at the eye’s surface, and a measurement is taken based on the eye’s response to the air. During the applanation test, a small amount of pressure is applied to the eye’s surface, and a measurement is taken based on how much the eye resists the pressure.

Ocular Health Exam

The ocular health exam is a comprehensive evaluation of the eye’s health. The optometrist will examine the inside and outside of the eye to detect any signs of disease, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. The optometrist will use a slit lamp to view the front of the eye, including the cornea, iris, and lens. They will also dilate the pupils to examine the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye.


Maintaining your eye health is essential to lifelong visual function. Regular eye exams can help detect any issues with your eyesight before they become more severe, allowing you to take quick action if necessary. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eye exams. Each person has different needs, and your eye health will dictate the necessary tests. Be sure to discuss any concerns or questions with your doctor before your appointment so that they can provide the most thorough exam possible.

Get a comprehensive eye exam in Calgary today and see the world in a whole new way. At Optiko, we offer a wide range of eye care services, including comprehensive eye exams, to help you see clearly and comfortably. Book your appointment with us today and discover the benefits of healthy eyes!